SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — About 1,500 new full-time jobs with e-commerce giant Amazon are headed to the Southside.
During a press conference Tuesday at Old Dominion University’s Tri-Cities Center in Suffolk, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said a robotics fulfillment center and processing center will be built in Suffolk and Chesapeake, respectively.
“Virginia has proven itself to be a prime destination with the business climate, infrastructure, global access, trained workforce, and talent pipeline that Amazon needs for its continued growth here,” Northam said. “With an existing workforce of more than 10,000 full-time employees across our commonwealth, Amazon’s economic impact in Virginia cannot be overstated.”
The multi-story robotics fulfillment center coming to Suffolk will bring an estimated 1,000 jobs.
Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson said they had make four code modifications to make it happen, and this is the first kind of industrial building in the state.
“We know that with the commonwealth partners, with everyone working together, there is no reason that this region won’t just jump to the front and that’s what we’re expecting to happen,” she said.
The 650,000-square-foot processing plant in Chesapeake will bring about 500 jobs, Northam said. Both facilities are expected to open in 2021, with most of the jobs paying close to Amazon’s minimum wage of $15 an hour.
The jobs will also offer benefits such as full health, vision and dental insurance, a 401k with 50-percent company match, and up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave.
“One thing builds on another, and while our economy is doing well, our unemployment is low. We have to keep the economy moving forward and it is about diversification. It also is about training tomorrow’s workforce. A lot of companies like Amazon, they come to Virginia, they come to Hampton Roads today, because we have a great talent pool,” Northam said.
Amazon Vice President of Work Place Development Ardine Williams said she is excited.
“It’s a great example for regional collaboration of the power when you bring multiple cities together what you can achieve,” said Williams.
The Chesapeake plant is part of a plan to revitalize the area around the Chesapeake Square Mall in the Western Branch section of the city. “The Grove” will sit on the southwest corner of Portsmouth Boulevard and Jolliff Road and also feature more than 800 housing units via single-family homes, townhomes, apartments, condominiums, and senior living facilities.
The news comes months after Amazon purchased a little more than 87 acres for $4.5 million on Northgate Commerce Parkway in Suffolk.
In 2017, the Seattle-based company announced its second headquarters would be built in Northern Virginia. The Virginia complex’s groundbreaking is set for this year, with completion expected in 2023. It’s expected to bring about 25,000 jobs to the Northern Virginia area over the next 10 years.
“The impact of Amazon’s arrival supports the City of Suffolk’s long-term vision and commitment to developing Northgate Commerce Park,” said Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson.
Senator Mark Warner added that Amazon’s expansion will be significant to the commonwealth.
“Today’s announcement makes clear: Amazon is betting big on Virginia. And with our top-notch education system, trained workforce, and business-friendly climate, it’s no wonder why,” said Warner